Got an itch to write a novel? It is a question I have asked myself over the years. I think I might. I have written and published multiple educational books, but never a novel. Informational books are straightforward: pick a concept or process, describe it, and share possible applications.
A novel, however, seems much more complex—plot, theme, characters, conflict, and setting—and then weaving them into a story that engages and enthralls. Oh my, that is a challenge.
Evidently, there are numerous people like me who think they might have a story to tell. National Write a Novel Month is a yearly challenge. Unfortunately, we’ve missed the deadline for this year, November 1-30. The idea is intriguing, and so I went in search of information about writing a novel in 30 days.
My first find was an article by Nathan Alderman in MacWorld, “Write a novel in 30 days.” He discusses a variety of digital supports for novel writing. I am going to try out Scrivener. Hopefully it will allow me to plot a story line where all of the pieces mesh and the characters develop in interesting ways. I can keep my writing and research all together and easily toggle back and forth between the two. I downloaded it tonight and am currently a bit overwhelmed. But, I learn by doing, and it will help me keep everything organized.
Here are a couple of screen shots of the program.
Organizing Chapters in Scrivener
Thinking About the Setting and Its Role
Developing Characters With the Help of Scrivener
My second find was a blog post by Nick Stephenson, “How To Write A Novel in 30 Days: Seven Steps, 30 Days (no mental breakdowns required).” Phew–glad I don’t have to worry about going to pieces! His seven steps are straightforward and actually remind me of the writing process I used with my seventh graders (with a few specific additions related to novels). Rereading this blog will be my first step in this new endeavor.
Searching “write a novel in 30 days” revealed more sites and supports than I can ever digest. However, these websites are out there should I feel the need of additional support. The wonder of the digital world, for me, is the plethora of resources at my fingertips. I can research, find advice, and write and revise without the agony of multiple rewrites with a typewriter and piles of index cards holding bits and pieces of research. And, perhaps best of all, I can self-publish.
If I had been born earlier, I wouldn’t even be contemplating the idea of writing a novel. The obstacles would have defeated me. Being a Boomer is liberating because the digital world allows me to redefine goals and myself as many times as I would like.
My month to write a novel will be this coming February when my BoomerTECH Adventures colleagues wander off to warmer climes. Snowy days here in Maine make for good opportunities to stay home and write.
My family need not worry that I will write of familial angst and conflict—we just aren’t that interesting in that realm. No, the story within me is a mystery set in times past. No great American novel is yearning to break free, just a little “cozy” spot of murder and mayhem. Wish me luck!